Mother by John Lennon Assignment

Mother Arrangement

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In this assignment I had to match the original tempo recording of Mother by John Lennon with my MIDI files. I began by renumbering the first bar to bar negative one this will allow me some room at the begining of the song and allow for better manipulation of the tempo map, also no errors can go wrong when I edit each individual bar later.

To find the tempo of the original song I used the “tap tempo” option available to me in P-T, this means I wont have to create a click track and adjust the settings till they are correct or just guess the tempo. However, this function isn’t completely accurate as it is down to the users ear and sense of timing as this requires me to tap the “T” key whilst the original song plays in the background. Due to the song being recorded in “free time” meaning no click track, the song isn’t fixed to one tempo and changes at different parts of the song, which meant I will have to create my own Tempo map and is where my use of the Bar Edit came to play. I also set the view to Bars and Beats to allow easier editing for myself and to ensure the edit bar tool was to what I set it to. I also set a Sync point at the very beginning of the track right after the bells were played, this let P-T know that this is where the first bar is located.

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To use the tap tempo function I brought up the transport bar, I did this with the CMD+1 shortcut key, and then enlarged it to view the other options. Next I turned off conductor so I had control over the tempo map. My goal with creating the tempo map is so when the midi tracks are added later they will follow the exact tempo of the song once I complete editing the bars and beats.

The process for identifying each beat is with my knowledge of the song being in 4/4, I simply played the song and stopped it once 4 beats had been played I then used the CMD+i shortcut to change the number of the bar. Whilst editing I had the “pre roll” function activated aswell as the insertion follows playback, this means I was able to start the song from the previous bar So I would have time to prepare for the next bar and discards the need to manually click the previous bar myself.

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I did use the shortcut “Tab to transient” on, this helped me in locating the transients by tapping the tab key on the keyboard. By doing this it enabled me ensure my timing was correct however, I didn’t rely on this option completely due to the fact that the transient isn’t neccesarily where the start of the beat is due to there being several other waveforms present i.e piano, vocals etc. I also added markers into different sections of the song, this helped me later on whilst editing the midi parts as I could jump to different sections of the song without having to remember the time or bar. I did this with the “markers” option next to the tempo map and named each section in an order that would benenfit myself i.e father verse, drum fills etc. Once the process was complete I now saved my progress in a different P-T File so that I’ll always have a backup of my recent save. P-T allows you to import session data into new projects, I did this in a new project file then added markers and tempo map to my fresh project file.

Production Techniques & Producer choice

My choice for a producer I would like to almost replicate will be Jeff Lynne due to his style of production being clean and reasonable enough for myself to reproduce in this recording. Jeff’s microphone setups are usually basic and nothing complicated however, a common technique Jeff uses is layering of tracks to bring a more energetic and bigger sound such as strings in the majority of his recordings, another technique that is instantly noticeable would be the equalisation of instruments such as the strings, vocals. With the strings it is common that he will follow the frequency range of the instrument for this instance the mid range and high mid range, he will then EQ out the bottom end out giving the strings a very resonant and clean sound, this is a very good way of cleaning up the sound of the recording due to boosts in certain frequencies and thus allowing more headroom for other instruments to stand out and sound clearer. It is also because of the way it is EQ-d makes it sound like the era Mother was recorded. When possible Jeff takes advantage of the natural reverb of a large rooms rather than resort to added reverb as mentioned in an interview which can be view here:

From my research of Jeff Lynne I will be using several techniques of his in my project, a very noticeable thing I will do is to replace the keyboard with guitars and layer this later on. Another thing also will be to experiment with different yet simple microphone positions that will not capture too much of the bottom end to keep the overall mix clean and allow headroom for the other instruments. I will keep the original arrangement of the song but slowly amp up the intensity later on in the song.

Schedule for recording

Talent Search – I have decided I will first decide on who I shall use for my recordings and how I want my vocals to sound, I will also get someone who is able to reach the vocal range of the song.

Setup ideas – My idea is to record the artist in a large – medium sized room such as Studio 1 to capture the natural reverb just as Lynne does. I may mic the artist with a simple on axis position and maybe add a room mic that will further capture the room noise and add a compressor on the room mic. The instruments in this song are very simple so finding a musician should be fairly simple, a simple on axis mic on the bass will capture the tone I prefer and not too much bottom end which will end up making the overall mix muddy. For the guitar I will record in a medium sized room to allow natural yet not too overdone reverb, I will use two microphones as this will be where the majority of the songs bite comes I will also pan each mic left and right for the stereo effect. The drums I will again use a simple technique such as the Glyn Johns method and maybe try a small sized room as well as a large room.

Recruiting process – Once decided on how I want it to sound I will allow some time for my selected musicians/artist to practice the song. I will recruit musicians from my college this will include my classmates as well as the music group, I could also recruit my ex band members which were great musicians and some whom thoroughly enjoyed The Beatles and John Lennon but may be overkill just for a simple chord progression.

Studio Time lapse – I plan on getting each musician to play to my midi file as well as the original song to make the editing process easier for myself, This will also prepare on recording day when playing to the Free time click track. If the drummer were accurate enough I may just get the band to play to him instead of the click but I won’t take this chance. I will reserve most my time for the drums as the setup and pack down process takes longest (and drummers are usually late), the bass or guitars will be for the next session and depending on their preferences could choose to both play at the same time. Vocals and the final mix I feel may be able to be done in the same session.

How it’ll sound – My goal is to make it sound clean/crisp just like Jeff Lynne’s productions but not too overly energetic, whilst keeping the same structure and feel of the song.

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I then imported the midi files into my new project file along with the previously added tempo map and markers, in the tempo map I was able to drag the arrows of the bars into place to fine tune the timing and allow the midi to follow the original recording more accurately as my previous tempo was slightly off time so when the midi and audio tracks play there was a delay in beats certain parts of the song, the mistakes were miniscule but the result meant that If the bar I edit in time this would lead to the next bar being slightly off too.

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With the MIDI tracks I routed their outputs Structure Free 1 port 1, Structure Free 2 port 1, Structure Free 3 port 1, the reason for having three different instrument tracks was so I could edit each individual Instrument without affecting the entire track if it was only on one instrument track.

With the MIDI tracks I rearranged parts in MIDI editor assigning the correct bass notes/drum beats for different sections. I simply copied the already recorded parts and pasted them (keeping in mind the bars and beats in time) into the positions I found most correct. With the drum fills that occur later on in the song I rid the parts and added the notes into MIDI editor to fit with the original songs fills However, whilst trying to make the drum fills they weren’t in time with the original recording so I switched the time signature to 1/64 and then drag my parts into time. The song structure I kep the same to stay true to the song.

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The different drum parts that I copied and pasted…

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Once the editing process was complete I added a fade out using automation in P-T by switching clip view to volume and slowly decrease the amplitude. I then added a master fader and routed all my instrument tracks to the master fader, this will help me in checking for peaking of the master fader. Finally I bounced my project as a 44.1KHz 16bit Interleaved .wav file


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